Fitness for mind
I love books. Actual books. They are sitting on my bookshelves throughout our home, on my nightstand, and in my book bag. Lisa, why don’t you just get a Kindle? I. Love. Books. Growing up I had the good fortune of a family that loved to read. Mom, dad, sister, brother always were reading books. Admittedly, I didn’t always want to be reading (thank goodness Netflix didn’t exist then) but everyone else in my home was so I picked up books and read them.
Recently I had the opportunity to soak in the richness of a very old, very creaky building with weathered wood floors and bookshelves that went on for miles. It was this thing called a bookstore (cue gasp). I had the absolute joy to meander through and read the many “staff picks” on 4x6 cards. This bookstore, Tattered Cover, was referred to me by a friend (thank you MC!).
So many words to be read I need to give thought to what I’m reading. I enjoy both non-fiction and fiction and often I’m reading both at the same time. There can be much information in non-fiction, so picking up a book of fiction can be quite soothing and enjoyable. Primarily though, I’m reading non-fiction to gain knowledge, strategies being a better human being, and ways of thinking that I can distill and pass along to you. One specific category of non-fiction I like to swim in is that which I call ‘fitness for the mind'.
Just like the body, the mind needs to be exercised, pushed, expanded so that it can create new neural pathways and operate at a high level. Use it or loose it holds true in this arena. The mind must be filled with nourishing thoughts and information and keep toxicity and narrow thinking at bay. There are so many books I could mention here, I’m going to limit it for today’s purposes to three that I find very nourishing and lasting, my ‘fitness for the mind’.
Mindset - The New Psychology of Success - How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. Dweck’s research reflects two ways of thinking; growth mindset and fixed mindset. Essentially we can achieve success, reach our goals through hard work and thinking without limits. In other words, it’s more than our abilities and talent that can propel us to greatness. You don’t have to be born a genius to learn. Anyone can. She sites many examples. This books would be valuable to anyone, but especially for parents, teachers, and coaches. Give it a read. It has made me look at learning and achieving goals in a much different manner. I wish had this book in school.
Unbeatable Mind - Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level by Mark Divine This book found me. I was searching for it without knowing that it existed. The author is a former commander of the Navy SEALs. He is the real deal. Intelligent, a physical specimen, and has the mental toughness and calmness that could make a feather float slower. I’ve had the good fortune to attend one of his training camps and retreats that was one of the best experiences of my life. Yes, a bold statement. Like I said, this book found me. It explains that we all have different areas of our lives, ‘mountains’, that we must consistently work on to improve ourselves so that we may serve others. At the heart of this book is that we are capable of far more than we think we are - we’ve been kept in the dark from this knowledge. This book sheds light on our path to accomplishment.
The Obstacle is the Way - The Timeless Art of Turning Trials not Triumph by Ryan Holiday Wanting to improve oneself, being faced with challenges or obstacles, is nothing new. Humans have been doing so for centuries. This book points out with fantastic examples from the Stoics that the obstacles themselves which stand in our way of success is precisely the way. Basically, it shows how to take our adversities and make them our advantages. Holiday includes many quotes of these philosophers, including Marcus Aurelius, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” Good stuff. For me, this way of thinking, the words of these philosophers really cleanses the mind. It removes the gunk and nourishes it with richness of words.
Hopefully you enjoy reading and see the power that can be gained from it. If reading isn’t your thing, if you have challenges like dyslexia, or short on time, consider books on tape. Great for commuting. Even if you swear by your Kindle, support a bookstore, buy a few and keep around your house. Read to your children, your grandchildren. Read for enjoyment. Read for knowledge. And remember your ‘fitness for the mind'.
To your journey,
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